Source: UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA submitted to
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Accession No.
Grant No.
Project No.
Proposal No.
Multistate No.
Program Code
Project Start Date
Jan 1, 2024
Project End Date
Dec 31, 2028
Grant Year
Project Director
Kononoff, P.
Recipient Organization
Performing Department
Non Technical Summary
Ruminant-based agriculture is expected to continue to be a major contributor to feeding the increasing population. However, ruminant agriculture is also one of the major sources methane, a potentgreenhouseand contributer to climate change. Microbial methane productionin ruminants is influenced by many factors most notably animal genetics, diet, and the gut microbes. However, our understanding of microbial processes within ruminants across gene pools and in diet combinations that lead to methane production or inhibition is limited. Therefore, understanding factors and processes that underpin microbially mediated methane changes, and associated interactions is critical towards mitigating methane emissions. This proposal attempts to understand genetic, management, diet, and microbial relationships to develop science-based dietary and management intervention strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emission from cattle. Additionally, this application plans to develop novel microbiome strategies based on microbial colonization in the gut of cattle. The project will deliver research findings and management strategies to reduce methane production in dairy and beef cattle production systems to effect change in management through outreach. This work is expected to translate to the development of management and microbiome establishment strategies that reduce methane emission and establish an network that will improve the capacity nationwide to educate stakeholder concerns and provide tools and material that will help producers to assess and adopt practices that mitigate methane emission.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
Goals / Objectives
We plan to quantify host, microbial, environmental and management factors that influence methane production in ruminants. Specifically, we will pursue the following objectives:1) Intensively phenotype dairy and beef cattle using indirect calorimetry for methane production, whole animal energy and nitrogen utilization while simultaneously collecting animal genomic data and phenotypic information of the microbiome through metagenome shotgun sequencing.2) Identify specific animal genetic, and microbial features that contribute towards or inhibit methane production to develop science-based intervention strategies for methane mitigation.3) Develop new microbial colonization methods based on colonization history and funder hypothesis of microbial establishment to develop microbiomes with capacity to decrease methane production.4) Develop science-based microbiome intervention strategies and applied practices and deliver educational opportunities to help stakeholders mitigate methane production in ruminants.
Project Methods
Efforts: Deliver science-based knowledge to learning communitoes through both formal or informal educational programs. Examples include: cooperatibe learning communities, workshops, demonstrations, development of programing;extension and outreach.Evaluation:Formative evaluation feedback will be conducted and presented to the program team on an annual basis and will inform the program by providing information needed to most effectively meet the proposed goals and objectives. The impact of the activities relative to the program's goal and objectives will be assessed in the summative evaluation. The formative and summative evaluations will rely on a combination of qualitative and quantitative data. Participants in the direct education activities will complete pre- and post-surveys to capture baseline and end-point opinions on methane mitigation, knowledge, issue awareness, and interest in change. The pre-surveys will include questions about prior experience, interests, and concerns going into the training that will be immediately communicated to grant leadership. The post-surveys will also include confidence in using what they learned, expected use, anticipated barriers and facilitators, interest in further education, and feedback on the session itself. The cooperative learning pods participants will also receive a mid-point survey to capture formative feedback about the process so far and any questions or concerns they have at that point. All direct education participants will also be asked to complete a follow-up survey including questions about their knowledge retention, use of what they learned (including any changes in management practices), suggested additional resources or education, and further plans to mitigate enteric methane. The videos of the cooperative learning pods will be reviewed and coded for changes in critical thinking skills and cooperative interactions over the four weeks. Cognitive interviews will be conducted with producers, Extension partners, and other expected audience members as part of the review of education materials produced as part of the grant. The goal of this is to assess the effectiveness of the format and messaging for the audience and purpose. Web analytics will be captured over time to assess the use of the on-demand access materials. Those accessing those videos and factsheets over the web will also see a survey link with questions such as how informative the information is, expected use of what they learned, overall feedback, and suggestions for future content. Finally, the Project Directors and other key project partners will be interviewed annually to capture successes and challenges for that year, changes made to planning, lessons learned, and overall progress towards grant goals.